Selling items effectively on Craigslist

Brian and I got rid of a lot of items prior to our move to the new condo.  One of the reasons was practical – we simply didn’t have the room in the new place to keep everything!  A lesser but equally important reason – we wanted to pare down on the number of items that we had.  But what to do with all our crap?  There was furniture, books, clothes… even a electric blue glowing dolphin lamp.  We decided to use Craigslist to get rid of our unwanted stuff.

Photo Credit via Flickr

Some people may be reluctant to use Craigslist to sell their things.  It can be a bit of work, but it doesn’t have to be incredibly painful either.  Here are a few tips to selling your things quickly on Craigslist.


Take pictures of everything

Pictures are key to making a sale.  I will almost never reply to an advertisement that does not include a photo.  It’s simply a waste of my time to go back in forth in emails to simply try to figure out of the item being sold is what I’m looking for.  So, include pictures!  Try to take your photo in good light and if it’s something large like furniture, take more than one photo.


Provide measurements of furniture

If you’re selling furniture, always include the length x width x height OR a link to an online product page that provides this information.  If you don’t, inevitably someone will ask for it.  Usually, I’ll just include a line in my post, saying something like: “Size LWH: 10cm x 10cm x 10cm”.


Choose a reasonable price

One of the things I hate is when people insist on valuing their item based on the price they originally paid for it.  It doesn’t matter what you originally paid for it.  The only thing that matters is what people are willing to pay for it now.  You may have paid $2000 for a new couch, but you’re not likely to find someone to pay $1600 for a used couch, even if it is a “$400” discount.  The discount is not comparable or real because the item you are selling is used.  So price it accordingly.


Leave lots of time

If you wait until the last week before a move to list your items for sale, you’ll likely be stuck with a lot of crap.  When we realized that we would be moving, we started selling things right away.  Realistically, you’ll get a lot of dead ends and a lot of no shows.  It’s better to sell your couch a bit earlier than expected rather than being stuck with it the day before you move.
In the end, we sold our couch ($200), coffee table ($20), kitchen table ($20), a variety of side tables and bookcases ($50), a CD rack ($5) and various other odds and ends.  In fact, many of the items we sold are found on Craigslist for free.  I can only assume that those people didn’t care enough to make a few bucks, they didn’t leave enough time, or their items were not in resalable condition.  By pricing your stuff fairly and creating an informative advertisement, you can make a bit of money and minimize the amount of crap you end up moving.
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